Weeks ago, I heard a lyrebird
mimic a chainsaw. In its gullet,
a song composed
with the fall of a body.
I hurried silently, scrawling myself
over scripture, so that later,
I could salvage aftermath
from wildfire. Holy reclamation
is how I imagined my body,
a land cradled by oceans,
affliction finally beyond reach.
And yet here I find myself again,
genuflecting before another open flame.
I whisper to the mirror all the
memories I hope to understand,
and last month wells up, shaking
like a storm before the flood.
But as I take moral inventory
of all that I have lost,
my hands come up dry.
The emptiness of realization.
A bird perched
across my larynx.
This is no hospital, only palliative care.
I peel back my papered throat and begin to sing.
Patrick Wang is a rising freshman who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis as a University Scholar. His writing has been published by Chautauqua Journal, Mobius, and the Blue Marble Review, among others. In his spare time, he raises fake cacti and edits for Ephimiliar Journal.